Author Topic: Japanese Composers  (Read 40248 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2008, 06:04:23 PM »
Thanks Colin for the interesting feedback.  We are basically in agreement. I too was disappointed by the Abe and my favourite is the Hayasaka piano Concerto (1st movement). The Moroi which is darly moving but maybe I have enjoyed the Hashimoto more than you.  your post has inspired me to put Masao Ohki's Symphony 5 "Hiroshima" on to the CD player. As the blurb says, it alternates dissonant harmonies with tranquil and solemn music.  Certainly it is a verey powerful and dark score. The earlier Japanese Rhapsody on the same disc is a lively and enjoyable score but I will probably stick with the Moroi and Hayasaka.

Thanks for your comments, Jeffrey! I shall give the Hashimoto another go! I have just ordered Ohzawa's 2nd symphony and a disc of music by Sugata so we shall see what they bring!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2008, 11:54:43 PM »
Colin,

What did you make of Ohzawa's "Kamikaze Symphony"? I guess you must have liked it otherwise you wouldn't be hunting down his Symphony 2!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2008, 07:05:03 AM »
Colin,

What did you make of Ohzawa's "Kamikaze Symphony"? I guess you must have liked it otherwise you wouldn't be hunting down his Symphony 2!

It is the Piano Concerto No.3 which is subtitled "Kamikaze"; the 3rd Symphony is subtitled "Symphony of the Founding of Japan".

Excluding Yamada(born 1886 and clearly the early pioneer of Japanese music) there seems to have been a generation of composers working around the same time-

Moroi(born 1903)
Hashimoto(born 1904)
Ohzawa(born 1907)
Abe(born 1911)
Hayasaka(born 1914)

Three of these studied abroad in the Thirties-Moroi in Germany 1932-34, Hashimoto mainly in Austria with Wellesz 1934-37, and Ohzawa. Ohzawa was abroad for the longest period(1930-36) and had the broadest education, first in the USA with Sessions and Schoenberg and then in France with Nadia Boulanger and Paul Dukas. He also associated with Roussel, Schmitt, Tansman and was encouraged by Ibert and Honegger. These influences certainly make the music I have heard the most 'cosmopolitan' and, probably, the most difficult for Japanese audiences of the time to absorb. Ohzawa seems to have been heavily influenced by Bartok, Hindemith, Honegger, Roussel and Prokofiev. There are jazzy influences, driving motoric passages in the Piano Concerto.

Very interesting composer indeed! Well worth hearing if you have not already. Perhaps I still marginally prefer the Moroi but Ohzawa is worth further exploration.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2008, 09:15:05 AM »
It is the Piano Concerto No.3 which is subtitled "Kamikaze"; the 3rd Symphony is subtitled "Symphony of the Founding of Japan".

Excluding Yamada(born 1886 and clearly the early pioneer of Japanese music) there seems to have been a generation of composers working around the same time-

Moroi(born 1903)
Hashimoto(born 1904)
Ohzawa(born 1907)
Abe(born 1911)
Hayasaka(born 1914)

Three of these studied abroad in the Thirties-Moroi in Germany 1932-34, Hashimoto mainly in Austria with Wellesz 1934-37, and Ohzawa. Ohzawa was abroad for the longest period(1930-36) and had the broadest education, first in the USA with Sessions and Schoenberg and then in France with Nadia Boulanger and Paul Dukas. He also associated with Roussel, Schmitt, Tansman and was encouraged by Ibert and Honegger. These influences certainly make the music I have heard the most 'cosmopolitan' and, probably, the most difficult for Japanese audiences of the time to absorb. Ohzawa seems to have been heavily influenced by Bartok, Hindemith, Honegger, Roussel and Prokofiev. There are jazzy influences, driving motoric passages in the Piano Concerto.

Very interesting composer indeed! Well worth hearing if you have not already. Perhaps I still marginally prefer the Moroi but Ohzawa is worth further exploration.

Thanks Colin,

I do have it somewhere on my shelves and will look it out. I listened to the Moroi again today; a darkly moving score (Symphony 3). I think that it is the best symphony I have yet heard in the Naxos series. Let us know what Ohzawa's Second Symphony is like.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2008, 05:06:55 AM »
Ohzawa's Second Symphony and Second Piano Concerto confirm the impressions made by his Third Symphony and Third Piano Concerto.
I am not at all surprised that Japanese audiences found them hard to handle at their first performances. They are very much under the influence of the kind of music Ohzawa must have heard in Paris in the early 1930s. His friendship with composers like Honegger, Ibert, Roussel, Tansman etc are mirrored in the neo-classicism and jazzy sounds of both works.

I don't rate either as highly as the 3rd symphony and 3rd piano concerto but there is no doubt that Ohzawa sounds more 'modern' than his contemporaries.

Oh, and I was quite impressed by the Ohguri Violin Concerto! Thanks, Jeffrey!

greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2008, 02:36:46 PM »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2008, 02:52:12 PM »
here's a wild one:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3ZrBfP6LuNc&feature=related

Yeh...right!

If you like that sort of thing you will like that sort of thing!

I have a very old-fashioned notion of what music is and what it is not.

Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2008, 03:12:13 PM »
Thanks GGGGRRREEG, that was very cool.

And very nice to be able to follow along in the score. That's always fun. And funny how formally traditional the piece is, too, as you can see if you follow it all the way through.

Anyway, it was good. Thanks again for the clip.

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2008, 03:41:41 AM »
Browsing through this thread I could find no mention of my old favorite Masaru Sato anywhere. But since I always refer to him in these non-western composer threads, I would rather discuss Isao Tomita. Just came across his synthesizer rearrangements of Debusssy's works (Snowflakes are Falling). That falls neatly into the Switched-on-Bach category, but I personally find Tomitas rearrangements tasteful. However, his own compositions are interesting, and I like the way he experiments with everything from traditional japanese instruments to synthesizers.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2009, 02:40:00 PM »
Thought I'd bump up this thread for no other reason than to plug this great Piano Concerto which I really love (or, to be precise, the extended first movement - out of two, which I usually play on its own). Dedicated to Hayasaka's brother and the victims of war, it is a great piece, which I find very moving. Hayasaka died quite young in 1955. He wrote the scores for Seven Samurai and Rashomon.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2009, 06:58:33 PM »
Hayasaka died quite young in 1955. He wrote the scores for Seven Samurai and Rashomon.
Aw, what a surprise at the end there! And here I was thinking I've never heard any music at all by this guy......

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2009, 11:41:06 PM »
Hayasaka died quite young in 1955. He wrote the scores for Seven Samurai and Rashomon.

Remind me: which Sibelius piece did he steal for the Seven Samurai score?

Anyway, last year I discovered Mayuzumi's Nirvana Symphony, which was a great little treasure. Having experimented with electronic timbres, Mayuzumi, like Ligeti, brought this new knowledge into conventional instrumentation. Influenced by Buddhist prayer bowls and chants, the orchestral timbres in the Nirvana Symphony are wonderful.

pjme

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2009, 01:52:28 PM »
If only it was available on CD!
You can try his Mandala symphony ( on Naxos) - purely orchestral , impressive.



Peter

Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2009, 02:07:12 PM »
And don't forget Yasunao Tone and Masami Akita.

(You were forgetting them, weren't you? And Toshimaru Nakamura. Point being that Naxos is only going to give you some Japanese "classical" composers, definitely not people like Yoshihide and Haino and the ones I just mentioned that you were forgetting. ;))


Offline Ugh!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #54 on: January 09, 2009, 01:14:44 AM »
And don't forget Yasunao Tone and Masami Akita.

(You were forgetting them, weren't you? And Toshimaru Nakamura. Point being that Naxos is only going to give you some Japanese "classical" composers, definitely not people like Yoshihide and Haino and the ones I just mentioned that you were forgetting. ;))



And on the other end of that spectrum, remaining contemporary: Yuichiro Fujimoto. http://www.yuichirofujimoto.com/

Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2009, 07:32:05 PM »
And speaking of forgetting, I was myself forgetting Takahiro Yamamoto and Katsura Mouri, who constitute the incredible BusRatch. (I just received Time Magic City, an album by BusRatch and Otomo Yoshihide. Highly recommended.)

Offline techniquest

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2009, 04:05:07 AM »
Quote
...I would rather discuss Isao Tomita. Just came across his synthesizer rearrangements of Debusssy's works (Snowflakes are Falling). That falls neatly into the Switched-on-Bach category, but I personally find Tomitas rearrangements tasteful. However, his own compositions are interesting, and I like the way he experiments with everything from traditional japanese instruments to synthesizers.

Tomitas arrangements of familiar classical music were far far better during his analogue years. Once he moved on to digital in the early '80s, the arrangements were too full of echo and had an unconvincing flatness about them. His 'Ravel' album was the last of the analogue recordings, and the difference between this and the subsequent 'Grand Canyon' album is huge. BTW, the Debussy album title is 'Snowflakes are Dancing' not 'Falling'.

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #57 on: January 19, 2009, 05:44:07 AM »
Tomitas arrangements of familiar classical music were far far better during his analogue years. Once he moved on to digital in the early '80s, the arrangements were too full of echo and had an unconvincing flatness about them. His 'Ravel' album was the last of the analogue recordings, and the difference between this and the subsequent 'Grand Canyon' album is huge.

Quite, but there inbetween were The Planets and Firebird (with Night on Bare Mountain and Prelude  which were both wonderfully analogue ;)

snyprrr

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2009, 02:41:17 PM »
No one has mentioned Somei Satoh. This guy really lays on the "cosmic nostalgia" that a lot, it seems, of Japanese composers gravitate towards: perfectly melancoly melodies bathed in a cosmic Debussian twilight. Takemitsu and Feldman we friendly, no?

Yoshimatsu seems popular at Chandos at least!

I have about 7 Takemitsu cds. Though they "all" pretty much sound the same no matter what the forces (a la Feldman or Xenakis), if I need to relax, no other composer comes close to Takemitsu's repose.
Honestly, just about any cd you get...very addictive. The double concerto Gemeaux on Denon, or Arc/Green (on some small label) represent Takemitsu's more avant style (as will his more 1960s works). The Knussen chamber cd on Virgin is a standout, but so are Iwaki on ABC, the John Williams/Sony, or the Knussen/DG.

No one has really gone into what I thought Japanese composers were all about: post-50s serial scary, totally objective, most hard-nuts-to-crack high modernists. Miyoshi, Ichiyanagi, Ishii, Hosokawa, Nishimura, Yuasa, Taira, Ikebe, Nodaira, Y.Takahashi...yea, I not gonna claim I know that much, but these are the names.
There's an old LP box, I believe, of avant Japanese piano music played by Takahashi.

The SQs Prelude (1960) by Mayuzumi and Landscape (1961) by Takemitsu are the first shots I know of, and Miyoshi's SQ No.2 (1967) is one I've been itching to hear, but most of the stuff I know comes from the 80s or later.

Hosokawa is well represented on cd. Though many of these composers have their "Japanese" moments, Hosokawa to me seems one of the most Western sounding, if by that I mean Ligeti, Xenakis, Berio et al. He, too, likes to call pieces Landscape and Fragment. The Arditti disc I have of chamber works is one of my go to cds if I need general around high modernism, and I mean that in the good way!

Nishimura I have represented by the Arditti, and this guy goes a whole lot further than Hosokawa, getting into Holliger/Globokar/Xenakis territory. His 3 SQs, all pretty different, are all VERY...well, you know...great!....and especially No.3 "Avian" which is one of the most unique SQs to my ears in the sounds that he asks Arditti to produce. This bird is no "Lark" I assure you.

Arditti had a Fontec cd of 4-5 Japanese SQs. If you have it, I want it...NOW!!!

Ichiyanagi, though I haven't heard a lick, promises to be the dean of high modernist Japanese composers.

Verdict? Japanese composers are another rabbit hole where you will see many $$$ fly out of your hands! ;D

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2009, 02:52:53 PM »
Fortunately....for my wallet, that is........I have no interest in Japanese modernist composers ;D